About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin

34. – 497.) Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin – Adelia, Mansur, Glytha and Allie flee the fens just ahead of a summoner for the local consistory court which is intent on charging and executing her and Mansur for going treating people. They join Emma, her young son and her champion as they seek to consolidate the holdings her son inherited. When there is resistance, trial by battle is conducted to determine the rightful owner. At the same time Henry II has been forced to come to Wales to deal with persistent insurrections inspired by the legend that King Arthur is just sleeping and will rise again to lead the Welsh to independence. When Rhys, a Welsh bard, convincingly passes on the comments of his late uncle, a monk at Glastonbury, that Arthur and Guinevere were buried 16’ deep at the abbey Henry orders an exhumation. Two skeletons (one tall and robust while the other is short and slight) are found. To Adelia’s anger Guinevere’s skeleton is missing the pelvic bones. Henry calls on his mistress of the art of death to determine if they are actually the bodies of Arthur and Guinevere for, if they are, rebellions will ebb as there is no Arthur to awaken. The Bishop of St. Albans, Rowley, comes back in to Adelia’s life. Back in his presence she reflects on what she has missed by not being with him. The investigation twists and turns through the forests and history of Glastonbury. There is an intriguing section on the beginning of the common law. Royal Courts are supplanting trials by combat. Words are to be the weapons in resolving disputes. It is a superb historical mystery. The history is fascinating and the mystery both appropriate to its time and skillfully plotted. Hardcover. (Aug. 28/09)


  1. Bill - I'm very glad you've highlighted this novel. The Adelia Aguilar series is, in my opinion, a really excellent historical series, and Ariana Franklin is sorely missed. She had such skill at weaving in information from the era with the actual story. And I do like the character of Adelia.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am glad you enjoyed the series and I also regret Franklin's passing.

  3. I do like a historical mystery now and then, but I am not too keen on stories that go as far back as this one.

  4. Dorte: Thanks for the comment. I found two aspects of the novel fascinating. One, as set out in the post, was a discussion on the origins of common law. Second, it provided vivid information on medical knowledge and medical superstitions of that era.

  5. I LOVED THIS BOOK! So glad you enjoyed it as well, Bill. I think this and the next one (the last in the series) A MURDEROUS PROCESSION are my two favorites in this great series. Though the first one is hard to beat.

  6. Yvette: Thanks for the comment. I have also read the first in the series and will be posting a review on a date to be determined.